Saturday, August 9, 2008

IIndus Valley Civilization Harappan Civilization (ca. 3000 - 1500 B.C.)

Sunken City Off India Coast -
7500 B. C.?

© 2002 by Linda Moulton Howe

The underwater archaeological site that could be more than 9,000 years old
is about 30 miles west of Surat in the Gulf of in northwestern India.

February 16, 2002 Surat, India - A month ago in mid-January, marine scientists in India announced they had sonar images of square and rectangular shapes about 130 feet down off the northwestern coast of India in the Gulf of Khambhat (Cambay). Not only are their sonar shapes with 90-degree angles, the Indian Minister of Science and Technology ordered that the site be dredged. What was found has surprised archaeologists around the world and was the subject of a private meeting two weeks ago attended by the Indian Minister in charge of investigating the underwater site about thirty miles off the coast from Surat.

An American who traveled to that private meeting was Michael researcher in the history of archaeology for the Bhakti Vedanta Institute in India and author of the book Forbidden Archaeology. I talked with him today in India about the dredging operation, what the ocean engineers found and the implications of first carbon dating of artifacts at more than 9,000 years.


Michael Cremo, Researcher of Ancient Archaeology and Author, Forbidden Archaeology: "Within the past few months, the engineers began some dredging operations there and they pulled up human fossil bones, fossil wood, stone tools, pieces of pottery and many other things that indicated that it indeed was a human habitation site that they had. And they were able to do more intensive sonar work there and were able to identify more structures. They appeared to have been laid out on the bank of a river that had been flowing from the Indian subcontinent out into that area.

According to the news releases, they have done a radiocarbon testing on a piece of wood from the underwater site that is now yielding an age of 9,500 years which would place it near the end of the last Ice Age.

Yes, those are the indications that are coming. There were actually two radiocarbon dates: one about 7500 years old and another about 9500 years old. The 9500 year old one seems to be the strongest one. That's the one they are going with. This was announced by Minister Joshi (Murli Manohar Joshi is Indian Minister for Ocean Technology) at this meeting I attended in Hyderabad, India. He said there is going to be more work going on. It's difficult because it's very difficult to see down there. There is a very swift current. So, it's going to have to be a pretty massive effort, but he said the government of India is willing to put the resources behind it to do whatever it takes to further confirm these discoveries.

I also spoke in Hyderabad with an independent archaeologist not connected with the Indian government, but who has a deep interest in these discoveries and he says they are still going to have to send divers down there. Up to this point, they have not sent divers down. The information they have is based on the sonar readings and the dredging they have done. Eventually, they are going to have to find a way to get people down there to take a closer look at this. I think this effort is going to go on.

Now, another American archaeologist, Richard Meadows of Harvard University, is proposing there should be an international effort here. On the surface that sounds like a good idea, but it also may be an effort of American archaeologists and others to control the project. I don't think they want to see a civilization being as old as it appears to be according to these new finds at 9500 years ago. So, I would hope the Indian archaeologists and government would be very cautious about letting outsiders in there who might have a different agenda and who might try to control what gets let out about this very important discovery. It could be quite revolutionary.

Cultural Background of People At Underwater Site?

Even if we don't know what the cultural background of the people is, if it does happen to be a city that is 9500 years old, that is older than the Sumerian civilization by several thousand years. It is older than the Egyptian, older than the Chinese. So it would radically affect our whole picture of the development of urban civilization on this planet.

Now, if it further happens that additional research is able to identify the culture of the people who lived in that city that's now underwater. If it turns out they are a Vedic people - which I think is quite probable given the location of this off the coast of India - I think that would radically change the whole picture of Indian history which has basically been written by western archaeologists.

India's Vedic Culture - Was It Really Older Than 3500 Years?

The most archaic Sanskrit (Devanagari) is that of the Vedas, multiple books written in thousands
of hymns and verses arranged in song cycles. The Vedas say that "God-men" brought Sanskrit to
Earth men as a language of musical tones. Above on the left is a comparison of the numerals 1 through 10
in Devanagari Sanskrit compared to Arabic. On the right are some examples of Devanagari vowels
and diphthongs. Sources: The New Encyclopaedia Britannica, 15th Edition © 1993
and Sanskrit Keys to the Wisdom Religion © 1968 by Judith Tyberg.

Ever since the 19th Century, there has been a huge debate about the actual history of India. When the Europeans first came there, they noticed that the people in India who had the Sanskrit language as the main language of their literature - they noticed that the European languages were similar (in word concepts), so that meant the Europeans and East Indians had to be related. The 19th Century scientists also noticed that the Sanskrit culture or Vedic culture, as it is sometimes called after the ancient Indian literature, Vedas, which means knowledge. So sometimes the ancient Indian culture is called the Vedic culture or Vedic civilization. The literature is called the Vedic literature. So, the scientists noticed that it appeared to be older than the European cultures. Since the European languages were related to the Indian language Sanskrit of the Vedas that could only mean that the European peoples had to have come out of India somehow and then gone to Europe with their languages that differentiated into Russian, English, Spanish, German and the rest of them. The European investigators didn't like that idea because it would have given the Vedic culture a position superior to their own. So, these early cities in the Indus Valley like Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro have been identified by archaeologists such as Richard Meadows and others as being non-Vedic. They think the Vedic culture came into India maybe 3500 years ago.

Isn't that inconsistent with the concept of the Vedas of the Krishna character who comes and says the universe is teeming with life and appears to have knowledge about other habitations in the cosmos and is talking from an age that would go back at least 9,500 years?

Oh, absolutely, Linda. In these ancient Sanskrit writings, there is no hint at all that the culture came from anywhere else.

And if they are the prime source and if the Vedic literature can be taken literally, then it implies that there were cities there inhabited at least several thousand years ago.

Yes, and there has been other research going on in that area. For example, the Rg Veda, which is one of the earliest Vedic literatures, talks about a mighty river called the Saraswati that flowed from the Himalayan mountains down to the Arabian Sea, down in that area of northwestern India. And such a river doesn't exist there today. So, what happened is that people thought therefore the Rg Veda cannot be talking about India. It has to be talking about some other place outside of India where there was some kind of river.

But what happened that is quite interesting a few years ago is that archaeologists in India started studying the satellite photographs from American satellites like LANDSAT had been providing and they noticed there was a dry river channel that began up in the Himalayas, a huge river that went down almost to that Bay of Khambaht (Cambay) we are talking about (the location of the underwater city site). And then later, they found that on the banks of that river there were 800 to 1000 urban sites, archaeological sites.

So, it does appear that what the Rg Veda was talking about, a mighty river lined with cities in India over 5,000 years ago - that has to be true. The last time that river had water in it was over 5,000 years ago?

Is there a possibility that there could have been some sort of non-human co-habitation on the continent of India let's say 50,000 years ago that could explain all of the Vedas?

Yes. In Kashmir, the valley of Kashmir, it appears it was many years ago a lake. Now, there is an ancient Sanskrit manuscript that tells of a lake that existed in that area, so that account is there in some ancient writings. Now, according to modern geological reporting, about 40,000 years ago Kashmir was indeed a lake in the valley of Kashmir in northern India. It was covered by a huge lake and it was blocked on the southern end by a little range of mountains. And at a certain point, something happened and it broke open and the lake drained out. That happened about 40,000 to 50,000 years ago. So, it is interesting that you've got this ancient historical record that talks about this lake. And if it is to be taken literally, then it means that somebody must have seen this lake as it existed 50,000 years ago and wrote about it."

More Information

Harappan Civilization (ca. 3000 - 1500 B.C.)

Until the recent Bay of Khambaht discovery, one of the oldest, advanced urban centers in India investigated by archaeologists is Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro in present day Pakistan along the Indus River. Will anything in the Bay of Khambaht discovery resemble the structures of the very ancient and mysterious Harappan Civilization?

Harappa archaeology dig in Indus River valley showing heights and depths of structures,
many built on mounds 3500 years ago. Source: North Park University, Chicago, Illinois.

Excavated walls of a Harappan urban city, one of the most mysterious cultures
of the ancient Indian world more than 3,000 years ago. The people were literate and used
the Dravidian Sanskrit language, only part of which has been deciphered today. The artifacts from
Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro in the Indus Valley of Pakistan are extraordinary in beauty and detail.
Source: North Park University, Chicago, Illinois.

Some Details from Harappan Urban Sites:

Mysterious white rings made of brick dot the landscape where
Harappan people lived, but archaeologists do not know the function.
One guess is platforms for spreading and drying of grains.
Source: North Park University, Chicago, Illinois.

The first objects unearthed from Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro were small stone seals
inscribed with elegant depictions of animals, including a unicorn-like figure
in upper left, and marked with Indus script writing which still baffles scholars.
These seals are dated back to 2500 B. C. Source: North Park University, Chicago, Illinois.

This seal is a close-up of the unicorn-like animal found in Mohenjo-daro,
measures 29mm (1.14 inches) on each side and is made of heated Steatite.
"Steatite is an easily carved soft stone that becomes hard after firing.
On the top are four pictographs of an as yet undeciphered Indus script,
one of the first writing systems in history." Image सोर्स

The Beginnings and Origins of Indus Valley Civilization 2,000 BC

A People and the Geography

India Map The story of Indus valley civilization, also known as Harappa civilization, is a story of a people intricately tied to their environment. The geography of India is one of great extremes, encompassing desert, mountains, forest, and jungle. All of these environments are susceptible to unpredictable periods of flood, drought, and monsoon. Although India may bear some of the most extreme geological and climatic features, these difficult conditions were also a great asset to the development of its early civilizations. The Himalayas provided a great deal of protection from nomadic and military invasions from the north, and other mountain ranges provided similar protection in the west and east. The water ways of the Indus valley provided an excellent resource for trade and commerce throughout India's history, and were vital to the civilizations throughout the Indus.

As is found with most state level societies, a rise in the cultivation of agrarian resources (specifically specialization), often leads to a surplus with an eventual population increase (making state level societies possible). The scenario of the Indus valley follows much the same principle. Archaeological resources suggest that the diverse geography of ancient India was increasing in the amount and specialization of faunal remains around the era of 2,400 and 1,000 BC. This specialization suggests that the Indus valley civilizations were dependent upon the lush alluvial soil of the Indus River, which produced high yields of cereal grains, and cultivated plant materials. By the time of 2,700 BC, the presence of a state level society is evident, complete with hierarchical rule and large scale public works (irrigation, etc.). Such large scale growth in so small a period of time can be attributed to two factors, an organized civilization which took direct control of its environments, and the unique and rich environmental resources India provided.

The Seals of the Ancient Harappan People: Meaning, Importance, and Implication

Background on the Harappan Civilization

Along the border of modern day Pakistan and India, the remains of several ancient civilizations, perhaps in existence as early as 3500 BC, have only been discovered within the last 120 years. Collectively these cities are known by several different names, including the Harappan, Saraswati, and Indus Valley civilizations. These cities were culturally quite similar and relatively approximate to one another geographically, as seen on the map given in Appendix A. The northern and southern civilization clusters are referred to as Harappa and Mohenjo Daro respectively. However, in this report, in accordance with modern archaeological convention, I will refer to all of these ancient cities collectively as Harappa.

Situated at the foothills of the Hindu Kush Mountains, the Harappan people thrived in the fertile valleys fed by the tributaries that flowed from the tops of the Himalayas to the Arabian Sea. These waters were maintained and controlled by city wide, underground drainage and irrigation systems. The remains of these people also indicate an ease in ability to produce sailboats with one mast and to navigate ancient maritime routes, possibly for trade (Jha, 1996).

These civilizations appear to have had a high level of sophistication and organization on land as well, as indicated by the aforementioned remains of municipally maintained water and sewage systems, and the deliberate layout of homes and cities according to a mathematical (grid like) structure (Jha, 1996). This enabled the Harappans to advance noticeably as agrarians. In fact, it seems that for several centuries, they were capable of supporting all citizens with ample supplies for food, clothing, shelter, and leisure. This apparently lasted until weather and climate became extremely inhospitable (Jha, 1996). There is also indication of development of industry and crafts production by the remains of manufactured artifacts including toys, makeup (including lipstick) and jewelry. The material composition of these artifacts also indicate that materials and goods not found locally may have been imported by the Harappans from various places, including the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia, Egypt, and perhaps, even China and beyond (Jha, 1996).

A formal description of the seals and introduction to theories

Trade amongst the civilizations is also suggested by the finding of hundreds of small seals, supposedly produced by the Indus peoples, at the excavation sites of ancient Mesopotamian cities that were existent around the same time. These ancient seals generally are two (and occasionally three) sided and square shaped. The dimensions of the seals vary; however, most are less than two by two inches (Joshi, Parpola, 1987, vol.1). Generally, these seals are created using steatite and reliable curing methods. Occasionally though, silver and other materials were used for construction and perhaps pigment (see Appendix B, Jha, 1996).

They are mostly found in pairs of two square parts. Generally one piece shows a relief image and script and the other with the same image and script in a reversed molded appearance, suggesting that the two faces with images fit together. The script is very brief, perhaps only one word, and is generally incised clearly along the top third of the face of each seal that contains script. Most of the deals have identical layouts. Further written detail of the faces of these scripts is provided below. In the center of the side of the seal not bearing an image, there is usually a bilaterally symmetrical planar, square, or most frequently, rounded outcropping with a hole on the side of the shape that is tangent to the main slab. See Appendix B for further clarification. Several of these seals also include markings on the back or along the edge that are similar in appearance to Roman numerals.

Generally, the subject of the images on the various seals is a single local animal, e.g. zebu, bison, tiger, elephant…or a human in a yogic position. This dominant image is accompanied by an item that could be a fountain, an altar, or sometimes an accompanying totem animal. Curiously, many of these seals also depict a one horned animal, whose origins and remains cause a wide range of speculations as to the originators of these seals and their purpose. Some of the seals later seemed to have depicted just the script or just the image. Furthermore as these images evolved, some became more creative and abstract, melding and morphing humans with animal figures. Some even depicted figures or designs in a careful composition of distinct shapes, unified only by their organic curves and specific placement on the picture plane (see Appendix C).

Abstract Seal

Based on this basic formal and geographic information, some archaeologists suggest that these seals were traded as an early unit of commerce, or perhaps worn as a protective, spiritual amulet. In each case respectively, the hole on the back could be used to sequence the units on a thin rod or attach the seals as a pendant (Joshi, Parpola, 1987, vol 1). Others suggest that these seals were educational tools that were proliferated to educate the masses. This theory is heavily substantiated by the work of American Mathematician, A. Seidenberg, and other scholars. In his work, he suggests that some of the seals contain mathematical formulas and associated numbers. For instance it has been deduced that pi was found or at least know by these people (perhaps off by two hundredths from the ancient Greek and modern Calculations) and that it was used in formulas for circumference and area, as given on the seals (see Appendix D, p 4-5, Jha, 1996).

Although, I have not found this theory directly suggested, based on this formal information and the information provided below, I believe it is possible that these seals may have even been used on a preconstructed board for the construction of stories or phrases. They may have even existed as an ancient form of mass production printing. This may be supported by the finding of small rectangular three sided tablets displaying some of the same script found on these seals (see Appendix E).

My belief correlates well with the theory put forth by Dr. Natwar Jha. Understanding of his theory requires closer examination of the script and images on the seals. Aside from Dr. Jha’s findings, other respected Sanskrit and Vedic scholars have put forth this theory since the finding of the very first seals; although, this theory is not widely accepted by many Western Indologists. This is the theory I will concentrate on for the next portion of this report.

Possibility of Vedic Origins of the Harappan Seals

Upon initial observation of the two dimensional reproductions of the seals, I was amazed at the level of refinement and precision of the incision on the seals. Immediately the images and the script both reminded of the modern Tamil, Sanskrit, Arabic, and Greek script. I wondered if these seals had any bearing on the evolution of modern script and imagery. However, all of the initial reports I found pertaining to these civilizations stated emphatically that the inhabitants of these cities were a separate civilization, bearing no relation to modern Indian culture, and no notable relation to other modern cultures. These reports were written by well known western Indologists, who substantiated their claims with the assertion that an (unproven) Aryan invasion of India, in 15th century BC brought the Vedic Era and all its accompanying culture to India. Thus they are maintaining that all culture before this invasion must be strictly pre Vedic and completely unrelated to modern Indian culture (Jha, 1996). Furthermore, applying their beliefs and assumptions to these artifacts, they have been unable to decode any of the script to this day.

So, as I was beginning to make my naive comparison of the formal qualities of these curious images and script to Ancient Assyrian script, I stumbled onto the work of noted Sanskrit Scholar, Dr. Natwar Jha, who has studied these seals for over 20 years (IndiaStar Review of Books, Indus Valley Seals Deciphered!). Over ten years ago, with the help of N. Rajaram, an expert on the subject of Vedic Civilization, he used the images of humans found in yogic positions as clues to decipher over 70 of these ancient seals quite logically. Until this time, no one else had been able to decode these seals. So far, he has expanded this decoding and analysis to include a clear and detailed description of the transformation of these ancient alphabets into Brahmi (various scripts that serve as precursors to Tamil and other south Indian languages, as well as the Buddhist Language Scripts of the Sinhalese and Burhmese) and Devanagri (the parent of Sanskrit, and various Northern Indian Languages). His work also shows a possible relation of Harappan script to the ancient Semitic and Greek script (see Appendix D, Jha 1996) .

Jha’s work has been further supported by the published findings of noted American Mathematician A. Seidenberg. In his work, Seidenberg explains the probable migration of concepts and formulas, relating pi, circumference, radius, and various trigonometric relations from the Harappans to the Babylonians, and eventually to the ancient Greeks and the various modern Western cities. Jha shows that several of these seals clearly demonstrate formulas for the circumference and area of a circle, utilizing pi, which, in the Harappan script, began with the letter "p" and was simply abbreviated as "p," according to their notation (see Appendix p 4-5, Jha, 1996).

The relation of the script to ancient Syria is furthered substantiated by the decoding of words, such as Agni, found in the Syrian culture, as well as the Vedic culture. Used to describe fire, the word agni becomes ignis in Latin and ignition in modern English (Jha, 1996). This interrelation of culture is attested to in several of the vocabulary words uncovered thus far. Thus it seems that these seals also relays concepts central to the Rig Veda (pertaining to health sciences, astronomy, and other subtle sciences), in addition to the Sulba Sutra (pertaining to mathematics), as demonstrated above. This clearly implies the educational function of the seals.

The ramifications of Vedic origins

If in fact these seals are Vedic in nature, their mere existence could push dates of these ancient civilizations back from their current widely held dates circa 2500 BC to at least 3500 BC. This means that they were contemporaries of the ancient Egyptian civilization and that the art and culture of these peoples may possibly have had as substantial bearing on consequential Semitic and Indian cultures.

This shifting of dates is also substantiated by a pottery excavation reported publicly on the BBC several years ago. This pottery, when originally announced, was dated at 3500 BC. Several days later the date was revoked by the archaeologists, due to the lack of reliability of the technology used to date the artifact. However, this does not necessarily change the likelihood that the pottery piece was indeed from that time period. In particular this pottery is relevant to the study of the seals, because the visual indications of culture and process on the remains, indicate that it was created by the same seal makers (Jha, 1996).

Since the time of his initial reporting, several highly respected Sanskrit scholars have also substantiated the Vedic role of the seals through their separate research efforts. Dr. Madhusudan Mishra has also published his findings on the subject in a book detailing the origin of known Vedic culture as originating from the Harappan civilization. Based on these findings, we can now begin to speculate on the ramifications and relations of the markings on these seals on the art and culture in India and other locations.

Possible historic effects of the seals: influence on modern languages

Currently, it is still widely believed that the basis of most modern Western languages and Sanskrit originates from the ancient Semitic script of the Assyrians. However, this new historical information could indicate that many modern languages have been mutually influenced by both Semitic and Harappan scripts, unless one is actually a successor of the other along the same lineage. Or perhaps both languages have extended mutual evolutionary forces on each other.

The ancient Assyrian culture is most carefully preserved by the modern Assyrians today. Amazingly, their language, Aramaic, has a script that is uncannily similar to the script found on the Harappan seals (, Aramaic). Whereas modern Urdu, the language utilized by most of the Islamic community in Pakistan, appears less related to the Harappan script. Although this stroke looks somewhat similar to that used by the Harappans, it is possible that it hails from a different lineage altogether. If at all this script can trace its roots back to the seals, it seems more likely that it has pulled its forms from the abstracted images found on later seals (see Appendix C) than the actual Harappan script. Nonetheless, the roundedness of this script, in contrast to the geometric forms found in the Harappan script, has also undoubtedly been heavily influenced by unique religious, moral, and environmental stimuli.

Comparing the ancient script to later forms of Brahmi, Devanagri, and Semitic script, many relations are still evident. Formally, the two basic Harappan strokes, a semicircle and clean perpendicular lines, are retained in most of the modern influenced scripts. However in the scripts of the southern Indian people, which are derived from Brahmi, alphabets become more curvilinear. This is probably due to the greater malleability of the writing surface. Samples of these scripts are provided in the appendices for comparison (see Appendix F).

It is especially interesting to note how far the influence of this script has reached. Although it is speculated that the Ashokan Brahmi script was also spread by Buddhist emissaries appointed by Ashoka in the 14th century BC (Ancient Sinhalese Civilizations, About Sinhalese), it is amazing to see the striking resemblance of these script forms in relation to the ancient Harappan script (Kannaiyan, V., 2000). This can provide proof that despite varying forces of evolution, the basic script is still Harappan like, and thus could possibly be ascribed to the ancient Harappan civilizations.

It is also interesting to look at the resemblance of some of these Harappan characters to the basic forms of modern Chinese and Japanese script. An example of Chinese script is provided in Appendix G for comparison. Although I have not been able to find anything formal relating the two yet, the discovery of the cultural hub established later in Dunhuang, China, near modern Tibet, along the Silk Road (, Dunhuang), gives greater reason to speculate that peaceable trading and sharing of goods and ideas was not just an isolated occurrence, but quite prevalent amongst all of the ancient societies.

Suggestions on the purpose of the images and script

Although some of the images appear to be clearly yogic and serve to create a type of illuminated manuscript; the massive proliferation of bison, zebu, unicorn… etc. images has yet to be satisfactorily explained in conjunction with the accompanying text. Also noting the high level of stylization, the relative flatness of the images, and lack of indicated motion or study of the legs of the animals, indicates that these images served more as communicative graphics than mere accounting of occurrence. Their stylization also hints at the wide spread use of symbology amongst the inhabitants of Harappa.

Let us assume for the moment that the seals are not Vedic. Perhaps if we reapply the theory that the seals are units of commerce, then the images on some of the seals can represent units of trade equal to the animal represented. Or perhaps, if these are part of a developing script, then these images may explain the origin, context, and usage of the script that no longer inherently contains clear pictographic information. Another possible explanation is that these symbols represent a group of people, and that there was a system of codification for the people of these civilizations determined by their geography or birth family. In fact, this is supported by the finding of certain seals in specific parts of each city. For example, the bison seals tend to be found closer to the centers of the various towns (Joshi, Parpola, 1987, vol. 1).

What can be observed from the seals clearly, is that they tend to follow a prescribed pattern, perhaps laid out mathematically, as is typical of Vedic art, e.g. Indian Classical Dance Forms, Sculpture, Architecture…etc. If in fact they are related to Vedic Culture, then they most likely carry a meaning dictated by astronomy and mathematics, in addition to any other information. Perhaps then, these stylized images could easily be depictions of constellations. This correlates well with the theory that the Harappans had an understanding of various trigonometric functions and identities, and the fact that Vedic philosophy is tightly based on astronomic calculations. If these images are indications of constellations then, it seems very likely that they could have easily been shared for communicative purposes with other ancient civilizations.

In particular, these images cause me to suggest some different possible lineages for the assimilation of these markings into the visual arts "glossary" of the Harappans. For instance, perhaps these seal images even contain references to ancient runes, which contain images that are incredibly similar to the script on the seals (Arild Hauge, Germanic Runes). If so, the unicorn can then truly be substantiated as an early depiction of horses, and an indication of the presence of ancient Europeans in Ancient Harappa.

As indicated by the lack of pictographic script, these images and the script may be far from their evolutionary origins, so we may continue to theorize about the origin and the function of these seals. However, if the theory that substantiates their Vedic origins remains intact, it seems that great progress can be made in the piecing together of understanding pertaining to the ancient art and life that follows. Historically, they can also prove to be an invaluable tool for understanding the way in which man’s faculties have developed to deal with the world around him.

Conclusion and commentary

Certainly this report must also indicate what is fundamentally obvious. The progress of human kind is non linear, and thus understanding of subjects regarding man’s history should perhaps be considered more broadly. This point of view allows us to observe the undoubted level of connectedness between ancient civilizations and their abilities to develop in peace simultaneously.

As may be indicated by the seals’ presence in the excavation of ancient Mesopotamia, the influence of the seals on the development of arts and culture, and particularly writing, seems evident. Or perhaps many of these civilizations evolved parallel type art forms, such as relief, then craft, sculpture and jewelry making, due to mutually exerted influences, as suggested earlier.

Although the images used in the art of the different areas do not tend to rely on the same images of animals, due to obvious presence or lack of environmental stimuli; it seems that information, such as mathematics, commerce, maritime travel, and astronomy may have been of greater universal importance to ancient people. Perhaps then these subjects facilitated communications and trade amongst ancient peoples, consequently, allowing their languages and arts to evolve in kinship.

All of these speculations continue to peak interest in modern excavation of these sights, although the political strife between the modern countries occupying these lands undoubtedly casts shadows on the proper excavation and interpretation of these artifacts. Currently these areas are solely under the jurisdiction of Pakistan, and are only available to Pakistani and American archaeologists. Furthermore, some of the remains of these cities are still being used as foundations for civilizations today. And although there is rumor that other related civilizations thrived slightly further inland along the Ganges River and perhaps elsewhere on the Indian mainland, no information is forthcoming since many of these civilizations’ remains also exist in areas constantly plagued by violence in modern times. It is a sad truth that for now, these digs will not be made in cooperation across various global communities, but I have great hope that this obstacle to uncovering an unbiased understanding can be overcome. Hopefully, one day these treasures will be available to all people.


Indus Valley Civilization

Indus Valley Civilization -- a land of urban culture. No other civilization in the world has so captured the imagination of historians and common people alike. Mystery surrounds its origins, its language and its decline. When money and thoughts were lavishly spent on building temples, designing tombs for kings, building fancy ziggurats; ignoring the common people who were living in mud houses and utter poverty, there was a civilization which spent its money and thoughts in constructing well-planned cities and buildings keeping the sanitation and convenience of the people in mind. The civilization was Indus valley civilization, and the people were Indus people. No civilization not even the Egypt and Mesopotamia civilization had shown so much advanced and modern planning as the Indus valley civilization.

Indus Valley CivilizationWorld History witnessed wars, struggles, succession wars, revolts since its beginning. Indus valley civilization was the only civilization where there was no war, no struggles, no revolts. The Indus Valley people made deals, not war, and created a stable, peaceful, and prosperous culture. The Harappan Civilization has significance for not only historians and archaeologists but for the common man also. It was best known for its spectacular city planning and had surpassed all other contemporary civilizations.

The rail tracks were laid down in the middle of the nineteenth century in the western part of the then undivided India. British engineers smashed bricks from crumbling buildings and rubble heaps to build the railway bed, in a town called Harappa. Alexander Cunningham, the then director of the Archeological Survey of British India, thought the brick ruins were related to seventh-century In the year 1920,Indian archeologists Dayaram Sahani and R.D Bannerjee undertook excavations on one of these mounds in harapa The archaeologists expected to find something, but never imagine that a city lay beneath the earth. Further excavation at different places in India and Pakistan, led to discovery of another large city Mahonjodaro and the recovery of at least eighty villages and towns related to this newly discovered civilization. They named it Harappan after the first city they discovered.


In the third decade of the present century, archaeological investigations had been conducted at Mohenjodaro and Harappa, which have brought out many interesting observations. The Indus Indiancilivaction ciliconsidered to be the earliest urban civilization and is at par with the most developed western civilization. The remains of the highly developed city has been excavated through the years and it is believed that this civilization dated five thousand years back. The Harappan town planning is still a matter of surprise and wonder for the contemporary world. This actually establishes the fact that the people were really technologically advanced and very knowledgeable in the laying out of the construction of the city as a whole.

The Harappan civilization grew up on the banks of the river Indus. Many recently conducted excavations at Lothal in Gujarat, Bikaner in Rajasthan and Ruper in Town Planning at Lothal in GujaratNorth-eastern Punjab have discovered out many relics, which are quite similar to the ones of the Indus valley, and this establishes a connection that may be the ancient civilization was not only confined to the Indus valley but also extended to the North-Western India also. The ruins of the old city give an impression that the city was destroyed as well as rebuilt several times. The inhabitants of the region practiced different trades for their economic prosperity out of which agiculture is important. Artistry was also encouraged which is pretty much clear from the excavated seals, statues, ornaments, garments and so on.

Town Planning
The town planning of the Harappan civilization affirms the fact that the civic organizations of the city was highly developed. The roads, dwelling houses, large buildings and forts were very well executed. They followed a system of centralized administration. The houses were even protected from noise, odors, and thieves. Harappan town planning had the inclusion of many traveling houses which ranged from two roomed to large buildings. Houses were properly placed on both sides of the roads, and also in tha lanes. The doors of the houses opened in the lanes and not on the roads. The houses were built on plinths that rose above the street level with stairs recessed at the wall at the front door. The planning did not allow any hindrance on the roads so everything was well organized. There were the government houses which were differently executed, dwelling houses which ranged from single to several stories with many rooms, public baths and so on. At Harappa many rooms consisting of two chambers around the courtyard of a dwelling house have been discovered, which are meant for the staying of the laborers. From the economic point of view, it can be assumed that agriculture was the primary occupation. This is evident from the availability of the granary in the city. The granary was constructed on the high foundation of the burnt bricks. The city of Harappa had defensive outer walls. The Citadel was the centre of important buildings, most of these settlements were built of, ud bricks, chiseled stones and burnt bricks. The citadels faced the west, which acted like sanctuaries at the time of aggression and during peace they played the role of community centers. The Harappan town planning gives a detailed account of a very good drainage and sanitary system. The main drain was connected with each and every house ensuring the proper disposal of waste. In order to check the maintenance, inspection holes were provided. The drains were covered and connected to the larger sewerage outlets, which ensured the passage of dirt out of the city.

Harappa Town PlanningThe Harappa town planning has stunned the archaeologists worldwide. Excavations are being carried out even today. The remains of the city have left an everlasting effect on the people. Whenever we encounter the well-laid roads, houses, public houses we find their love for well-organized city. It has become a landmark for the contemporary civilization when technological advancements have been made which is helping to achieve great heights. It is unbelievable that even in that ancient past people could think so scientifically and were so conscious as to build a dream city with everything well planned and properly executed. It has become a specimen of wonderful town planning in today`s world and has inspired the contemporary generation. From the concept of bathing pools and granaries we get a glimpse of the modern day swimming pools and storehouses where grain can be stored. It was a proper furnished city that a modern man is habituated with. This facilitated the Harappa dwellers to live a luxurious life with proper sanitation and regulation. Safe transport and traveling facilities were provided due to the well laid roads which did not hinder communication. Over all the Harappa town planning was very scientific and very much applicable and feasible in contemporary times.

We come to know about the Harappa town planning from the remains excavated from the sites. These sites are a special attraction for archaeologists as well the common lot. Harappan town planning is extremely modern and a specimen of the ancient times that was equally developed like the present times.

The twin cities of Mohenjo-daro and Harppa center of all activities. Both cities were a mile square, with defensive outer walls. Cities were divided into lower dwellings and the Citadel housed important buildings. In the excavated sites, the Harappan settlements were found built of mud bricks, burnt bricks and chiselled stones. Mud Bricks were largely used at Harappa, Kalibangan, Lothal and Banawali besides burnt bricks.

We are not sure what language the Harappan people spoke. The scholars have not been able to decipher the language of the Harappans. Sir John Marshall was the first to suggest that the language of the Indus Civilization was Dravidian. Most scholars are Harappa-Mohenjo-daro Writing Characters and Sealsagreed with Marshall. Piero Meriggi, a scholar who deciphered the Hittite hieroglyphs, opined that Brahvi, the Dravidian language spoken even now in part of Balochistan, must be the original Harappan language.

It is believed that their writing was a pictographic script, or at least seems to be. The script seems to have had about 400 basic signs, with many variations. The sign probably stood forwards and for syllables. The direction of the writing was generally from right to left. Most of the inscriptions were found on seals and sealings. Some inscriptions were also found on copper tablets, bronze implements, and small objects made of terracotta, stone and faience. The seals were probably used in trade and also for official and administrative work. So the Harappans seem to have used writing mainly for these sorts of things. A lot of the inscribed material was found at different Harappan site.

Scholars are unable to draw a conclusion regarding the religion of Indus people. Unlike Mesopotamia or Egypt, there was no such buildings discovered so that we can conclude it might be a temple or involve any kind of public worship. However some historians are of the opinion that Harappan people were Hindus.

Science and Astronomy
The Harappan people knew the measuring tools of length, mass, and time. They were the first in the world in developing a system of uniform weights and measures. Their measurements were extremely precise. Their smallest division, which was marked on an ivory scale found in Lothal, was approximately 1.704mm, the smallest division ever recorded on a scale of the Bronze Age.
Occupation & Trade of Indus People:
The Harappans were agriculturalists, Their economy was entirely dominated by horticulture. There were massive granaries in each city. The Indus River valley was quite fertile when the Harappans thrived there. Many of the Harappan seals had pictures of animals that imply a wet and marshy environment, such as rhinoceroses, elephants, and tigers. The Harappans also had a wide variety of domesticated animals: camels, cats, dogs, goats, sheep, and buffalo.

Social Life:
In Indus valley civilization, the society was divided into three distinct social groups. One group ruled and administered the city, the other group included the merchants who were associated with trade and other business activities in the city. The third group were the Bullock cart - Mohenjo-darolabourers who worked in the city. They also included the farmers who cultivated wheat and barley as their main crops. Animals like the buffaloes, sheeps and pigs and the humped bull were bred. Fish, mutton, beef, poultry and pork consisted the food they ate. Animals like the elephant, camels and dogs were also domesticated. Men also seemed to have worn ornaments like fillets, necklaces, finger rings and armlets. Women were fond of ornaments like earrings, bangles, bracelets, necklaces, girdles and anklets made of shell, beads, gold and silver and copper. Razors, bronze mirrors and combs made of ivory speaks of the people interest in personal upkeep. Toys like the whistle and carts besides puppets, rattles and dolls made of terracotta speaks greatly about the attitude of the people in child care. People enjoyed playing in dice and marble. Gambling was a favourite past time of the elder members in the society.
Art and Craft of Indus Valley People:
The patterns that the craft traditions in India were to take and which were to survive for years, appear already mature and firmly established in the cities of the Indus valley. The Indus people were expert craftsmen. They made beads of carnelian, agate, amethyst, turquoise, lapis lazuli, etc. They manufactured bangles out of shells, glazed faience and Indus Valley - Terracotta slip painted bowl and dishterracotta and carved ivory and worked shells into ornaments, bowls and ladles.

Decline of the Indus Valley Civilization
By about 1700 BC, the Harappan culture was on the verge of decline. The causes of its decline are not certain. The physical existence of the civilization ended due to various factors.
(a) Ecological changes led to the decline of land and agriculture, thereby enforcing the need to evacuate to other area might have been the reason for the disintegration of the Indus valley. Shifts in the monsoon pattern and changes in temperature led to the area more arid.
(b) Increase in population, excessive deforestation, decline in agriculture etc. might have created economic problems leading to the gradual decay of the culture. The marked decline in the quality of building and town planning indicates that the authorities were losing control.
(c) The changes in the river flow patterns and correspondent widespread flooding would have disrupted the agricultural base.
(d) The invasion of the Aryans is the other view that is said to be another reason which might have also led to the decline of the Indus valley. Thus ended the most brilliant civilization of the ancient world.